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2018 Midterm Elections

#TXDecides: What Impact Will Mass Shootings Have On Texas Gun Policy?

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Ryan Poppe
/
Texas Public Radio

The topic of mass shootings has dominated conversations between state officials and everyday Texans during this midterm election.

The Sutherland Springs church shooting in 2017 and Santa Fe High School shooting this year occurred during a time when the Texas Legislature was not in session. But both shootings were the topic of debates and town hall discussions during the midterm elections.

 

“Red flag laws” was a topic brought up during policy discussions following both Texas shootings and has been one of the issues discussed by both Republican and Democratic candidates.

 

Alice Tripp, legislative director for the Texas Rifle Association, said red flags laws are emergency protective orders in which a gun owner temporary loses their right to possess a firearm if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.  

 

“Without going through the courts, which is what it would take now, you just take the firearms.  So there’s no due process, there’s no constitutional rights, there’s no proof — it’s all based on an allegation,” Tripp said.

 

Gyl Switzer, executive director for the gun policy group Texas Gun Sense, said there are benefits to red flag laws and the political candidates who support strengthening them.

 

“An extreme risk protection order gives you a chance to look across the spectrum, and so it’s a civil process, so it doesn’t create a criminal record, doesn’t prevent you long term from having weapons, firearms, but a judge can make that decision,” Switzer said.

 

Switzer is also supporting candidates that call for state or federal restrictions or to ban the sale of semi-automatic assault-style weapons.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1